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joyngeoff

Battery Replacement

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Our 96 model XC's origonal 120 ah Full River batteries were not holding charge off road and our fridge couldn't hold an adequate temperature and being in a national park in North Q'LD our gennie was not an option. We are into the 2nd month of our 6 month trip including the Cape mid August and had to make a replacemet. We sourced 120 ah Full Rivers from Eniquest in Brisbane to Cardwell and installed them in the C/Park with a bit of help with the 36 kg monsters.The 40 amp Victron charger was in the way of getting the middle battery out and rather than follow Tom's advice from Kedron of moving the Charger we slit the battery box down the sides and got it out easily and replaced the battery and placed a strap around the box to make it secure.During the procedeure we damaged the wiring and to the Solar regulator and burnt it out.We had no 12v power to the van other than via the transformer.The good news is that after a lot of searching we found BRIGHT/SPARK 12v centre in Cairns who immediately came to our aid with a new Provista 12v solar regulator and had us back on the road in a couple of hours. I guess we had a good run run out of the origonal batteries but my electrical skills cost me a new regulator.I guess alls well that ends well.

Any one needing any help with electics in the van in the Cairns area call Pat at Bright/Sparks on 07 54378333 as has aalready rang me twice to make sure all is ok.

Geoff N Joy

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Glad to hear you are back on the road Geoff & Joy. We too had some excellent service two years ago in Cairns when a new 3 month old battery failed. The Cairns agent wasn't under any obligation to give us a new one but as it was the easiest option that is exactly what he did.

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Red faced and a correction to my origonal post. Our XC is 2006 not 96. Batteries were 6.5 years not 16.5 years old :blink:

GEOFF

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Hi Joy and Geoff,

We are on our third set of batteries. Even at 2006 that's a really good run. Our last set, Trojan Deep Cycle 120Ah x 3, split the battery casings as they got to that stage of their life where they go into the death spiral of never charging fully and consequently always being charged. I did know they were nearing the end of their life as they were around 6 and half years old, were very thirsty and the fault for not acting sooner and truth be known dishing out a little abuse through neglect is entirely mine. Unfortunately we discovered that the battery boxes function is not to be a fluid proof spill enclosure but a way of securing the batteries to the floor pan. We had battery acid run from the boot via the rotted away tech screw holes through to the end of the bed. We were extremely lucky in that no permanent damage was done except to the galvanised surfaces which have all been cold gal'ed now. Very, very lucky as our annex was in the boot as well and somehow managed not to get wetted by the acid. That's $3k I really didn't want to spend again.

We purchased the AGM type of battery and now can only use the solar PV to charge as the battery charger does only lead acid, wereas the solar regulator is switchable between types. We easily noticed how the old model GSL charger alarmingly heated up the AGM batteries whilst charging. Why Absorbent Glass Mat Batteries? Over compensation for the Lead acid batteries splitting. They are far more robust and spill resistant. Now we need a new charger and coincidentally an inverter. You know where this is leading don't you.... : )

To conclude is the Victron you have installed an inverter / battery charger/ shore power connection? If so can you report on its performance as I am seriously considering the Multiplus models purchase and at around two and a quarter thou supply only I want to make sure it’s the business.

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Hi Ash,

We had a Victron MultiCompact 12/2000/80 and remote Digital Multi Control fitted to our ATV when it was built 12/2010, it has been a dream to use, never missed a beat and is most always on, we always have our van switched over to 12v, never bothering with the 240v setting on the change over in the boot and turn the inverter/charger on/off with the remote as needed when we are free camping to manage battery draw. When connected to mains, it's always on and charging cycling through the 4 stages as needed to keep batteries at full charge. A very versatile unit, interestingly I had to insist it be fitted during the build, apparently some people had experienced problems in the past, but, my guess is the problem was more about settings and the unit doing exactly what it is supposed to do in the event of a bad power system you might be connected to.

If you want any more info, I'd be happy to help, there are other units around that might be worth looking at as well, I'm happy with ours though.

John

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A tip when it come time to replace or remove Kedron van batteries....... even though I'm not a ten pound weakling I found the access to the battery boxes very difficult when handling the 35kg monsters (batteries).

Rather than cutting the battery boxes, I removed the nuts securing the hatch struts & simply slided the hatch flap out of its pivot point, it may be necessary to partly remove the white 'finishing' moulding on the outer edge of the van to permit easier removal of the hatch cover but it is very easily refitted after refitting the hatch cover.

While you have the hatch cover off clean the hatch pivot mouldings with some steel wool & reassemble DRY do not lubricate the pivot.

Hope this helps save your back & possible damage to your van :D

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Hi Ash,

We had a Victron MultiCompact 12/2000/80 and remote Digital Multi Control fitted to our ATV when it was built 12/2010, ......., I'm happy with ours though.

John

Thanks John,

Exactly the feedback I was after.

Ash

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@ Ash Burton: I have the Victron 12/60 charger, which, while not the Multi jobby, uses the same technology for the DC regulation. One issue I do have with it is that when the PV regulator cranks up during the day, the Victron tends to lose the plot in terms of operating in float mode. By this I mean that the batteries are fully charged anyway, so when the PV reg kicks in (I don't bother turning the Victron off) the Victron doesn't even try to deliver current. Now, that's fair enough and not an issue in itself - because the PV reg assumes the role of maintaining a float charge and increasing its output if any 12 Volt appliances are switched on - it's just that after the Sun gets low and the PV reg can't deliver current, the Victron doesn't always step up to the plate. Sometimes I manually have to turn it off, and then back on to get it to work.

I thought it was some kind of hysteresis curve issue, where the Victron had to sense that he voltage was lower than some internally predetermined value before it would start, but not so. It doesn't matter how low the battery volts go, it still wont start without a reboot. As I said, not a big issue, especially now that I'm aware of it, but one to look out for.

Also, just as a matter of interest, I'm going to replace my AGM batteries with the battery shown in the image. It uses Lithium Ferrous Polymer chemicals to provide the energy. It is a set of four 3.4 Volt cells packaged together to make a single 12 Volt battery. The advantages are:

Lighter (1/3 the weight of Lead batteries of the same capacity) (This is the main reason why I'm getting them. My van is overweight.)

Can be discharged deeper without damaging the battery. They can be discharged by 80% with no appreciable loss of life expectancy.

Can be charged by any charger or PV reg that does not exceed 14.6 Volts during the charge cycle.

Are similar in physical dimensions (actually slightly smaller than similar capacity Lead batteries.)

Can be mounted any way you like, even upside down!

Don't spill.

I presently have four 130 AH AGM batteries that should give 520 AH capacity, but as we know, the deeper they are discharged, the shorter their life expectancy. For this reason I have ever only discharged my batteries by 30%, which gives me an effective usable capacity of 156 AH. Three 90 AH LiFePO4 batteries give me a theoretical max discharge of 270 AH but they can be discharged by 80% without damage, giving me a practical available current of 216 AH. So, three LifePO4 batteries at 39 Kg total Vs four AGM at 144 Kg and giving me 25% more available current. No contest!

The downside? Price. $535 ea, ex GST. Still, to rid my van of 108 Kg, it will be worth it.

They will be mounted under the café lounge seat, behind the axles, which will effectively remove 183 Kg of weight from the towball. (Another major issue with my van.)

Cheers

Russ

post-589-0-01791100-1345620573_thumb.jpg

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Hi Russ and Ash,

I've heard the same thing as Russ mentioned before, hence reluctance for fitting during the build by Kedron. Can't say I have really ever experienced it myself. What I do notice is that there is a certain period of discharge during the float cycle before the charger comes back online, only something I have recently noticed so will grab the manual soon and go back through the settings.

If I had my time over I would investigate an all in one and possibly do away with the separate PV controller, they're about and would hopefully eradicate the competition between two charging sources and technologies?

One thing I do like is that with the remote you can set the draw on the mains/generator supply so no matter your circumstance or generator size you can tune your system accordingly.

A couple of tips; be sure the DC cables are sized well, tend to oversize and to use the capacity of the inverter be sure to have enough battery reserve, so for the beez neez check out the batteries Russ mentioned. BTW I'm pretty sure I read last night the MultiPlus is Lithium compatible.

John

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